Flute band member admits Twelfth rioting

Published Friday, 13 December 2013
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A loyalist flute band member has pleaded guilty to rioting on his birthday, the Twelfth of July, during serious public disorder in north Belfast.

Flute band member admits Twelfth rioting
PSNI officers on the Woodvale Road (© Presseye)

Harry McFarland, 49, admitted a single count of riotous assembly on 12 July this year when police came under "heavy and sustained" attack on the Woodvale Road.

The rioting erupted after police blocked a return leg of an Orange Order feeder parade past the Ardoyne shop fronts following a ruling by the Parades Commission.

Belfast Crown Court heard that McFarland, of Iniscairn Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, was "clearly intoxicated" at the time and was captured on CCTV lifting a green wheelie bin with another man and throwing it at police lines.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC was told that McFarland was present for an hour during the rioting and was a member of a flute band who was dressed in white trousers and black T-shirt with a logo on it.

A prosecuting solicitor said: "There was serious rioting and there was a crowd of some 5,000 people on the Woodvale Road.

"Police had to deploy all of its available resources in full public order dress. Officers were attacked with ceremonial swords, petrol bombs, heavy masonry and other missiles."

He added that because of the sustained attack, police fired plastic baton rounds and also deployed water cannon in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

The solicitor added: "In total, 56 police officers were injured with some being hospitalised. This man had been part of a band that had been playing but later got embroiled in the riot."

Asked by Judge Philpott QC what the band was called, a defence barrister said it was the "highly respectable" Shankill Protestant Boys flute band.

The prosecuting counsel added that McFarland, who has no previous criminal convictions, was later arrested by police and made a "full admission" to his involvement in the rioting.

Judge Philpott told McFarland that she was releasing him on continuing bail until 17 January 2014 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

"Do not take the fact that you have been granted bail as an indication of what may happen. And Mr McFarland, keep out of trouble," warned the judge.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Arthur in east london wrote (315 days ago):
jail the thug
pat mac murphy in Bilfawst wrote (315 days ago):
49 yrs old... He wants to catch himself on... so he does.
Pádraig in Béal Feirste wrote (315 days ago):
From Rathcoole? What was he doing there?
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